For proportionality to remain a helpful category in limiting the horrors of war, it needs to remain a calculation of costs against effects—measuring the goods to be achieved by two measures of harms, including that which will be likely done if force is not used,
Two Christian schools of thought might support covert operations and espionage: the just war tradition and a kind of “dirty hands” moralism. The dirty hands view says all those in political power must unavoidably resort to evil for the common good. The just war tradition has a different approach.
The First Marine Division’s paragon of virtue, Chesty Puller, upheld the standards of just warfighting and respect, if not love, of the enemy. We pray his progeny leading the defense of our nation today will do the same.